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A Lesson From My Baby Niece

Aren’t we all like little children in the eyes of God! I thought as I watched my little niece play about the floor. I was later to be amused at how God would teach me a great lesson from an almost intangible experience like watching my baby niece at play.

She was only a few months old and her lively babble filled the whole place. As she pattered across the living room she was picking things and putting them out of order. From the flower vase on the center table, to the books on the shelf, to the mouse of the computer and sometimes she got hold of my painting brushes intent on smearing her dress. Many times she put things in her mouth unaware of which was safe and which was not, and when you tried to discourage her from playing with harmful things like electric appliances or climbing things where she could easily fall, she obviously did not understand why. No sooner had someone taken her away than she’d return to the same unsafe objects. This sort of thing happened many times over and Jesus, it could be frustrating! Sometime I felt like spanking her or leaving her to learn a lesson or two in the hard way. But how unreasonable of me to think that at that age she’d understand the situation. In resignation, I decided that the onus lied on me to keep an eye on her every move. It was my duty to ensure that she was safe even though her whole idea of happiness was in playing with everything in sight and within the reach of her young fingers. As I took those interesting but hey, harmful objects out of her reach, I would see the faint pain of denial. How I wished she could understand that I cared for her to be happy despite taking away those objects she was happy playing with.

I thought that this is how we must be in relation to God. Many times we were driven by ambition and all we could see was the pleasure that was obvious but the secret danger, hidden away in the belly of time was often only seen by God. But when we strived and prayed and still did not get what we thought we badly needed, we fretted and sulked and like I watched that little girl wet behind the ears about the choices of her play objects, I imagined God either becoming impatient with us or smiling down at us in resignation, while we thought He was being irresponsive to our needs and unfair to us.

But how can we know that God is interested only in our happiness if we lack the understanding of His nature? And how can we understand His nature if we do not have implicit faith in Him? Now, to have faith may mean that we blind ourselves to the striking realities of life while choosing to hold on to the rather unseen but great master plan of God about our lives. But tell you what, this is easier said than done.

Imagine God promising Abraham that he’d be father of many nations whose children would be as countless as the stars and yet at 99 years and an age when his wife was so far gone past menopause, the promise had still not materialized! How could God promise Joseph a bright future and yet what he experienced were the staggering antithesis of God’s promise. First he was thrown into a pit; then he was sold into slavery away from the care and family love that every child needs; then he became a mere servant to Portifer; then he was in the dungeon. Now practically and realistically, did all these events reflect that that God is interested only in Abraham’s or Joseph’s happiness? Apparently, the answer is no, but from how these stories ended; yes, God has only good intentions for us. But if we must understand this, faith then becomes an essential element. Faith is therefore the only platform on which our relationship with God is abased. We need to trust that He cares in all situations. No faith, no relationship with God.

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